The 07.12 train departs from Oxford to London. 9 in 10 passengers are men in suits. Every one of them sits in their seat looking like they know they are the most important person on the train. Every one of them knows that his job is the most important, and that he can give the least away with his facial expressions.
There seems to be a competition going on this morning as to who can look furthest down his nose at his BlackBerry to check the financial news or whatever it is he has up on his iPhone. One phone is enough for the average man but not for The Suits. For reasons you probably wouldn’t understand, they require two phones, each.
The carriage’s total silence is broken by a balding middle age man asking A Suit if he can sit in the seat next to him. The Suit squirms uncomfortably while moving his extremely important documents and his extremely expensive jacket. The balding man looks like that art teacher that could never keep the class under control. He’s probably called Graham.
Another Suit stands by the luggage compartment despite the available seats so that he can avoid this potential ordeal. Graham sits down in his normal clothes and lets out a long sigh, probably because he’s actually done something this morning other than see how much product he can paste into his hair which is all the banker next to him has achieved.
The first facial expression of the day is recorded from A Suit in the seat behind Graham. A minute but just discernible raise of the eyebrow in pent up disgust. Five minutes of silence follows before Calum, a 42 year old director, receives a call and frantically races through his leather briefcase to answer. He looks flustered; seemingly embarrassed by the ring tone his 9-year-old daughter had set for him, despite knowing he earns more money than the rest of the train’s passengers combined.
The nanny was ringing because she had forgotten which brand of organic rabbit food she should buy from Pets-R-Us. ‘I left a note on the bloody mantelpiece,’ Calum furiously whispered, before hanging up. ‘Stupid woman,’ he mutters, as he checks the FTSE’s daily movement on his tablet as though it would solve all of life’s problems. Silence resumes for another few minutes as the blood slowly returned from Calum’s head to the rest of his body.
Then comes the trolly. The atmosphere changes as the trolly is wheeled in, The Suits fearing a terrifying social interaction almost inevitable. ‘Anything from the trolley, dear?’ the woman asks Calum. He glances blankly at her, like one would if she had said something in a foreign language, before returning his gaze without a word to his tablet in order meticulously scan a document to do with money.
The woman continues down the aisle as though this was a normal response, asking the same question every few rows as The Suits bow their heads in a sort of inverse Mexican wave. The Suit next to Graham’s morning was about to get worse, however. He looks up at just the wrong moment, and makes full eye contact with her. She smiles expectantly, waiting for his order. His only option now is to buy something. Just hand over some change and take something from her blithering trolley. He spots a KitKat – obviously the nicest thing on the trolley - but he stutters. Not a KitKat. That’s the obvious choice. What would someone very important order?
‘I’ll have a small sparkling water,’ he says, having to suppress a smirk at how important Graham must think he was. He hands over £2.20 for his small sparkling water and struggles through all eight mouthfuls to ensure Graham knows he definitely likes sparkling water. Graham did order a KitKat and got crumbs over his beige corduroys. Idiot.
When The Suits arrive at Paddington they step onto the platform like a procession of American presidents getting off Air Force One. The hardest part of the day is over. Finally, they can get to work doing important things.